hawk

1 of 5

noun (1)

1
: any of numerous diurnal birds of prey belonging to a suborder (Falcones of the order Falconiformes) and including all the smaller members of this group
especially : accipiter
2
: a small board or metal sheet with a handle on the underside used to hold mortar
3
: one who takes a militant or combative attitude (as in a dispute) and advocates immediate vigorous action
especially : a supporter of a war or warlike policy compare dove entry 1

hawk

2 of 5

verb (1)

hawked; hawking; hawks

intransitive verb

1
: to hunt birds by means of a trained hawk (see hawk entry 1 sense 1) : to practice falconry
2
: to soar and strike like a hawk (see hawk entry 1 sense 1)
birds hawking after insects

transitive verb

: to hunt (someone or something) in flight like a hawk (see hawk entry 1 sense 1)
hawking insects

hawk

3 of 5

verb (2)

hawked; hawking; hawks

transitive verb

1
: to raise by trying to clear the throat
hawk up phlegm
2
informal : to forcefully spit out (something, such as phlegm) : hock entry 5
hawk a loogie

intransitive verb

: to utter a harsh guttural sound in or as if in trying to clear the throat

hawk

4 of 5

noun (2)

: an audible effort to force up phlegm from the throat

hawk

5 of 5

verb (3)

hawked; hawking; hawks

transitive verb

: to offer (something) for sale by calling out in the street
hawking newspapers
broadly : sell

Examples of hawk in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web
Noun
Lyerly’s decision comes as Gallagher, a high-profile foreign policy hawk, plans to leave Congress on April 19 — months before the end of his term. Lawrence Andrea, Journal Sentinel, 3 Apr. 2024 At the time of his ouster, the hawks of the league saw someone who was on the inside of the game – someone with skin in it – would be part of the change. Maury Brown, Forbes, 15 Feb. 2024 From mid-September to mid-November, hawks fly over the island during their annual migration. Emma Janssen, Miami Herald, 26 Feb. 2024 Half a century later, as Washington adjusts to the realities of a new cold war, détente could again be derailed by hawks. Niall Ferguson, Foreign Affairs, 20 Feb. 2024 Klain and Adam Schiff, like most Dems now, are hawks. Ron Hart, Orange County Register, 15 Feb. 2024 Whether or not politicians align with the democratic socialists or hard-line activists, if Israel hawks see them as a threat, the attack ads will follow. Ross Barkan, New York Times, 7 Feb. 2024 Ground birds such as dove, quail and towhees will eagerly peck at seed on the ground, but the birds need cover close by in case a prowling Cooper’s hawk is looking for an easy lunch. Ernie Cowan, San Diego Union-Tribune, 4 Feb. 2024 Despite their frustrations with Meta, Trump’s comments on TikTok were frustrating to some of the China hawks in his orbit who want the former president to take a tougher line. Jeff Stein, Washington Post, 12 Mar. 2024
Verb
Dazzling billboards and banners hawking crypto coins were everywhere. Leif Wenar, WIRED, 2 Apr. 2024 The works at Tiffany are, alas, not for sale — they have been purchased, commissioned, or borrowed by the company — but there is a robust history of department stores hawking art. Andrew Russeth, New York Times, 28 Mar. 2024 That was before Stanley cups became a viral sensation, which was fueled when a limited-edition cup released with Target on New Year's Eve resulted in sellouts and led to eBay resellers hawking the originally $45 tumbler for up to $200. Mike Snider, USA TODAY, 29 Feb. 2024 The company started selling $2,000 gold bars on its website in September and recently started hawking 25-count tubes of one-ounce silver coins for $675. Bruce Gil, Quartz, 7 Mar. 2024 With so many eyes glued to the tube all at once, advertisers shell out enormous sums to hawk their wares, while super star performers consider headlining the Halftime Show a career highlight. Doug McIntyre, Orange County Register, 25 Feb. 2024 Saturday Night Live took aim at former President Donald Trump‘s decision to hawk gold sneakers for about $400 a pair with a reimagining of the 1992 flick White Men Can’t Jump called White Men Can Trump. William Vaillancourt, Rolling Stone, 25 Feb. 2024 That is a particularly valuable commodity on Radio Row, the primary vessel for companies to hawk their wares at one of the largest entertainment events of the year. Emmanuel Morgan, New York Times, 8 Feb. 2024 For one, he's turned to hawking 9/11 shirts for $911 and at one point was selling video messages on Cameo for $325 a pop. Aimee Picchi, CBS News, 21 Dec. 2023

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'hawk.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

Noun (1)

Middle English hauk, from Old English hafoc; akin to Old High German habuh hawk, Russian kobets a falcon

Verb (1)

Middle English hauken, derivative of hauk hawk entry 1

Verb (2)

imitative

Noun (2)

derivative of hawk entry 3

Verb (3)

back-formation from hawker entry 2

First Known Use

Noun (1)

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Verb (1)

14th century, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense 1

Verb (2)

1581, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

Noun (2)

1604, in the meaning defined above

Verb (3)

1713, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of hawk was before the 12th century

Dictionary Entries Near hawk

Cite this Entry

“Hawk.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/hawk. Accessed 17 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition

hawk

1 of 4 noun
1
: any of numerous birds of prey that have a strong hooked bill and sharp curved claws and are smaller than most eagles
2
: a person who supports war or warlike policies
hawkish adjective

hawk

2 of 4 verb
: to hunt birds by means of a trained hawk

hawk

3 of 4 verb
: to offer for sale by calling out in the street
hawk vegetables

hawk

4 of 4 verb
1
: to make a harsh coughing sound in or as if in clearing the throat
2
: to raise by hawking
hawk up phlegm
Etymology

Noun

Old English hafoc "hawk"

Verb

back-formation from 2hawker

Medical Definition

hawk

1 of 2 transitive verb
: to raise by trying to clear the throat
hawk up phlegm

intransitive verb

: to make a harsh coughing sound in clearing the throat

hawk

2 of 2 noun
: an audible effort to force up phlegm from the throat

More from Merriam-Webster on hawk

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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